Yes, I was reading this book for years. Just happened that I dropped it, and haven’t picked it up for forever. Kim Newman is definitely not for everyone, and maybe not for me, but I have still troopered through “Johnny Alucard” (Anno Dracula 4; ISBN 0857680862; 400p.; Goodreads), and I will absolutely read the fifth one, no matter what.
Imagine America during the 60s to 80s – full of vampires. Andy Warhol? Vampire. Mad Men? Probably vampires. Vampires, just like the warm, feel the need and want to get famous, become movie stars, rock stars. Much like actual movie stars, famous people, rock stars – wish to become vampires. Problems are: some vampires don’t even show up on film, leaving them with such duties on set as special effects (ripping off clothing, carrying “floating” things around); while talented folk who are becoming vampires – often lose their talents. But this problem, unlike having no image on film, can be solved by faking it. There’s a new drug in town, called Drac, that gives you all the vampire traits for an hour or six. And this is how some young man named Johnny Alucard has evened out the scales among these two tribes of humans vs vampires: both parties crave each others blood. For if Drac runs out, well, some states don’t even consider vampires legally alive to be killed for blood again. In the meantime, Dracula is on everyone’s lips. Stoker’s name as pseudonime is as common as Smith. Directors are trying to overthrow each other by making better Dracula movie. Adult film industry is blooming with Dracula Rising and Dracula Sucking. Capes, castles, and intense need to tell the folk you are an indirect Dracula’s get is a must in Hollywood if you want to be a somebody.
Johnny Alucard, back then known as Ion, is the last of Dracula’s get. During war in Romania his own people, his own commando, threw him at Dracula’s feet as a tribute, as a snack, as an exchange for their own necks. Ion felt no regret over it for, in truth, the boy barely felt anything at all. This empty shell of a boy, with no fear or emotions in him, became the perfect vessel for Dracula and his final plan. For, after all, World can be taken in more than one way, and it doesn’t have to involve guns.
The book is very fine and interesting. It’s the author’s constant need to put names, backstories for the names, references, and so on, together with massive scene descriptions (which are great, don’t get me wrong, but what’s too much is too much!) – made it a chore, no longer a pleasure. I couldn’t listen to this book in audio form, for my mind would start filtering the droning that was in no way relative to the story and the next thing you know – missed a bit. So I can’t give the book more than 3 out of 5, but be assured, I shall read the fifth one in the series.